Two $25,000 grants, one from Trinity Presbyterian Church’s Legacy Fund and a second, matching grant from Red Ribbon Charitable Foundation, have provided funding for the purchase and operation of a mobile testing unit for OASIS Florida. With this new mobile testing facility, the agency plans to address the lack of easily accessible HIV testing facilities in Northwest Florida and travel to areas where at-risk individuals may test more readily, as well as access free barrier methods and prevention measures.
“We are thrilled to now have, thanks to generous community support from Trinity Presbyterian Church Legacy Fund and Red Ribbon Charitable Foundation, a functional, mobile resource to better serve the community,” said William Bedwell, Executive Director of OASIS Florida. “As an integral part of the agency’s High Impact Prevention Program, our goal is to travel to suburban as well as rural areas of Northwest Florida on a continual schedule.”
The Florida Department of Health has issued a call to action to increase HIV testing, improve access to care, reduce barriers and stigma and strengthen plans to reduce the impact of HIV on black communities. While African Americans represent only 14 percent of the U.S. population, each year they account for almost half of all new HIV infections in the U.S. In Escambia County, Florida, African Americans represent only 23 percent of the population, but in 2016, made up 46 percent of reported HIV cases.
OASIS Florida will host Trinity Presbyterian Church and Red Ribbon Charitable Foundation for a media reception on Wednesday, February 21 from 11 a..m to 12:30 p.m. at OASIS Florida’s Pensacola office at 25 East Wright Street in downtown Pensacola. For more information, please contact OASIS Florida at 850-429-7551.
Founded in 1991, OASIS Florida is a non-profit community-based service organization providing services in Northwest Florida to those affected by HIV/AIDS and promoting prevention of HIV through free testing, outreach and education and access to preventative tools such as PrEP and condoms. From two locations in Fort Walton Beach and Pensacola, the organization offers Ryan White case management services to consumers as well as High Impact Prevention programs to clients in a four-county area (Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties).